Women and Property in China, 960-1949

Women and Property in China, 960-1949

by Kathryn Bernhardt
     
 

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Drawing on newly available archival case records, this book demonstrates that Chinese women's rights to property changed substantially from the Song through the Qing dynasties, and even more dramatically under the Republican Civil Code of 1929-30.See more details below

Overview

Drawing on newly available archival case records, this book demonstrates that Chinese women's rights to property changed substantially from the Song through the Qing dynasties, and even more dramatically under the Republican Civil Code of 1929-30.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is an original and wholly new analysis of changes in women's inheritance rights in China. . . . With her mastery of the legal code and the language of casebooks, as well as her access to unique archival collections, Bernhardt's findings rest on an irreproachable mass of data; the book is a classic example of careful scholarship."—Susan Mann, University of California, Davis

"Using research from 430 actual cases during the period covered . . . Bernhardt emphasizes how the laws were applied in practice rather than what those laws actually mandated. . . . As such, the book is a valuable addition to scholarship on Chinese history, and more specifically the complex history of Chinese women."—History: Reviews of New Books

"A particularly impressive contribution of this book is its sketch of long-term trends in Chinese inheritance law from the Song through Qing periods. . . . Bernhardt's findings here are important and raise many questions for social and cultural historians to tackle, both concerning the cultural environment that led to these legal innovations and the impact of them on the choices families mad as they maneuvered around the law. . . . Bernhardt has immersedherself in Chinese legal writings and excels at explicating judges' decisions."—Journal of Asian Studies

"Bernhardt's impressives study . . . will greatly facilitate comparative study of the concepts of family and property and takes research on legal reform in modern China to a new level."—Choice

"The book demonstrates the difficulties involved in changing norms embedded in a society over a long period of time. It also gives us insights into the problems when foreign concepts are introduced, as well as going into the importance of changes in inheritance rules for family relations, status, the economic situation, etc. Those who deal with issues involved in the introduction of ownership of property by women and rights of inheritance on the part of women in societies in which these concepts are still unknown should definitely read this book."—Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture
"Kathryn Bernhardt has written a highly readable and impressive book with much to recommend it. The scope of her analysis and the range of material she uses set a new high standard in the field. Many of her conclusions will be influential. . . ."—JESHO
"This superbly researched monograph explodes many myths about the inheritance of property in imperial and Republican China precisely because it focuses on women in the intergenerational transfer of property. Kathryn Bernhardt's many significant reinterpretations also rest on a mountain of new evidence from diverse archival and published sources."—NAN NÜ
"This is a fascinating, well-researched, and carefully argued study..."—China Review International

Booknews
A study that challenges the view that property inheritance in China in the Imperial and Republican periods remained relatively static. Focusing on women's claims on inheritance rights, Bernhardt (history, U. of California) argues that while the consolidation in law of patrilineal succession in the Ming and Qing dynasties curtailed women's claims, the coming of the 20th century greatly strengthened women's rights to inherit property. She argues that this information reveals household division and patrilineal succession as separate historical processes each with their own dynamics. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804735261
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
Publication date:
11/28/1999
Series:
Law, Society, and Culture in China Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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